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25 Feb 2009 : Column WA81

Written Answers

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Agriculture: Bluetongue

Question

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Defra currently has no plans to ban the import of livestock from bluetongue restricted zones. Movements of susceptible species are governed by EC Regulation 1266/2007, which was developed with the best available scientific advice, balancing risks proportionately against impact on trade. Where new evidence has become available, rules have been adjusted. We will continue to consider emerging evidence and any implications for movement conditions.

We will continue to conduct post-import testing of all imported livestock and, where livestock test positive for bluetongue, appropriate risk management action will be taken, depending on the serotype detected.

Those importing livestock should however consider carefully importing from bluetongue restricted zones.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): During 2007-08 the accommodation element of Section 4 support was an average of £97 per person per week and accommodation element of Section 95 support was £96 per person per week.

Asylum Seekers: Congo

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Border Agency will enforce the return to the Democratic Republic of Congo of failed asylum seekers who have no right to remain in the UK but who refuse to leave voluntarily.



25 Feb 2009 : Column WA82

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): In order to ensure the stability of the financial system and to protect ordinary savers, depositors, businesses and borrowers, the Government took decisive action last October.

Under the recapitalisation scheme announced on 8 October 2008, the Government invested £19.97 billion in RBS and £16.96 billion in Lloyds TSB/HBOS. These banks are also eligible to use the Government's credit guarantee scheme (CGS), under which up to £250 billion of bank lending will be guaranteed. Participating banks have accessed some £100 billion of funding under the CGS so far. Figures for individual banks are confidential.

As part of its investment, the Government have agreed with the banks supported by the recapitalisation scheme a range of commitments. Details are available at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_105_08.htm.

These include agreements to make available affordable products during this period of global turbulence in financial markets, help individuals struggling with their mortgage payments stay in their homes and support the expansion of financial capability initiatives.

UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI) will oversee the conditions attached to subscribing to the Government's recapitalisation fund, including maintaining, over the next three years, the availability and active marketing of competitively-priced lending to home owners and small businesses at 2007 levels.

In the Pre-Budget Report the Government also established a new lending panel to monitor lending, bringing together lenders, trade bodies, consumer groups and Government, regulators and Bank of England. This provides a forum through which Government and lenders can consider issues of mutual interest.

On 19 January the Government announced further measures designed to reinforce the stability of the financial system, to increase confidence and capacity to lend, and in turn to support the recovery of the economy. Details are available at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_05_09.htm.

Banking: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



25 Feb 2009 : Column WA83

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI), which is wholly owned by the Government, will oversee the conditions attached to subscribing to the Government's recapitalisation fund, including in relation to remuneration policies. UKFI will work to ensure management incentivisation based on long-term value maximisation, which attracts and retains high quality management and which minimises the potential for rewarding failure.

More broadly, on 13 October the chief executive of the Financial Services Authority wrote to the chief executives of the major banks and building societies, setting out the criteria for remuneration policies and practices which are properly aligned to sound risk management and controls. The FSA is currently undertaking a review of regulated firms remuneration practices and the authorities have made it clear that failure to comply with the standards set out in the 13 October letter will be reflected in the FSA's risk assessment of firms and will be taken into account when setting capital requirements.

Banking: Sweden

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The current financial crises are global problems and require an international, as well as domestic, solution. The UK authorities have been heavily involved in work at both EU and international level to enhance the stability and resilience of the global financial system.

The Government will continue a close corporation with international colleagues.

Bees

Questions

Asked by Lord Moynihan



25 Feb 2009 : Column WA84

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The details for the research programme in the years shown have yet to be finalised. An additional £0.4 million per annum will be available for research on bees and other pollinators, bringing the total to around £0.6 million. Subject to current negotiations £0.5 million of the increased resources will be contributed to a wider research programme on pollinator decline, while the remainder will be used for applied research, mainly in the National Bee Unit.

Asked by Lord Moynihan

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The details for the research programme in the years shown have yet to be finalised. An additional £0.4 million per annum will be available for research on bees and other pollinators, bringing the total to around £0.6 million. Subject to current negotiations £0.5 million of the increased resources will be contributed to a wider research programme on pollinator decline, while the remainder will be used for applied research, mainly in the National Bee Unit.

British Citizenship

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The available data for 2004 to 2007 are given in the attached table. Data for 2008 are scheduled for publication in May 2009.

Statistics of persons granted British citizenship by previous nationality and under Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 are published annually in a Home Office national statistics bulletin. These publications may be obtained from the Library of the House and from the Home Office research, development and statistics website:

Annual bulletin 2007

www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosb0508.pdf.



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25 Feb 2009 : Column WA86

Grants of British citizenship in the United Kingdom to persons formerly resident in Hong Kong, 2004-07
Number of persons
Type of citizenship2004200520062007(p)

British citizenship granted in the UK to residents of Hong Kong under Section 1(1)(1)(2)

80

150

570

780

British citizenship granted under other Sections to persons from Hong Kong(3)

Hong Kong SAR(4) of China (Holder of Certificate of Identity)

15

5

10

10

Hong Kong SAR(4) of China (Holder of Special Administrative Region Passport)

105

115

85

100

British Nationals (Overseas)(5)

455

465

545

680

Asked by Lord Avebury

Lord West of Spithead: There were 15 minors who applied for British overseas citizenship under Section 27(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 from 2002 to 2008. Of this number received, five have been approved. These figures are rounded to the nearest five. Due to the small numbers involved and the protocol not to itemise numbers of two or less for each year, a total number for the period has been given, as most of the figures would not be reported in a table by individual years.

The information has been provided from local management information and is not a national statistic. As such, it should be treated as provisional and therefore subject to change.

Courts: Warrants

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): A warrant specifically authorising entry to premises is not required by enforcement agents attempting to recover unpaid fines. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 gives civilian enforcement officers (CEOs) and approved enforcement agents (AEAs) an explicit power to enter premises in order to execute warrants and to use reasonable force in order to do so. Her Majesty's Court Service records the number of times this power has been used. Any warrant is available for inspection by the person against whom it is issued or their legal advisers.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord Bach: The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 gives civilian enforcement officers (CEOs) and approved enforcement agents (AEAs) an explicit power to enter premises in order to execute warrants and to use reasonable force in order to do so. Detailed guidance is contained in the magistrates' courts guidance search and entry powers (Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004). A copy of this guidance was placed in the Library of the House. The guidance contained a number of redactions for reasons of public interest and on health and safety grounds. The Information Commissioner agreed with the redactions.

Data Entry

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Efforts are made to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the prison service IT system data, as far as is practicable. Prison establishments who are responsible for the data input, are not, however, always in receipt of the necessary details, notably regarding offences. Where the offence data are incomplete we use the category "offence not recorded". These data are collected on a central computer database, called the Inmate Information System (IIS), and are used to produce the various analyses of receptions, discharges and time served in custody.

Data input teams have a range of performance measures in place, agreed with clients and stake holders, covering time and quality for each type of transaction/process we deliver for them.

A new IT system, Prison-NOMIS is being rolled out to public prison establishments over the period spring 2009 to summer 2010.



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Prison-NOMIS uses a combination of mandatory fields, drop-down lists and field-level validation to ensure that the data entered by users is as complete and accurate as possible. Free text fields, which often lead to errors in input, are avoided where possible.

The Prison-NOMIS drop-down lists are populated using standard data sets which are either nationally recognised, such as the ISO list of country codes, or common across the criminal justice organisations—for example, we are now using the same offence codes as the police and the Court Service.


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